These days many westerners are wearing bindis as a fashion statement. When purchasing bindi, in order to avoid cultural insult or confusion, it is important to know what various symbols mean. Most that are sold to westerners were bought by people who don’t really know much about Asian symbolism. So here is a list of common bindi shapes, and their meanings:
The tear Drop or circle means a drop or blessing from the deities.
A circle with designs with in means the divine discus, presented by Vishnu to Shiva, as a gift.
Paisley is a stylized Muslim symbol for the pine cone, OR contemporary symbol of moral freedom, tolerance, and peace.
A swan is a tribal symbol for beauty, family, and communal values OR Vishnu.
A flame is for fire, intensity, Shiva in the form of fire.
Mirrors or reflective bindis: In some tribes means protection from evil eye, reminder that what you do comes back, karma.
A square stands for the four elements.
A sunburst sybolizes the sun
The trident is the weapon of Shiva, symbolizing creation, destruction, and regeneration.
A spear signifies victory, the vanquishing of enemies, or removal of obstacles.
An eye invokes Shiva, Kali, or shows reverence to the Nepalese “Khumari” or living goddess. The Khumari is chosen in toddlerhood, based on her fearlessness and closeness to perfection, and much revered until her term ends, at the first time she ever bleeds for any reason. However, it is said that those who marry a former Khumari are sure to have a tragic death.
Also of interest:
The area between the eyebrows,(third eye) the sixth chakra known as the ‘agna’ meaning ‘command’, is the seat of concealed wisdom. It is the centre point wherein all experience is gathered in total concentration. According to the tantric cult, when during meditation the latent energy (‘kundalini’) rises from the base of the spine towards the head, this ‘agna’ is the probable outlet for this potent energy. The red ‘kumkum’ between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the human body and control the various levels of concentration. It is also the central point of the base of the creation itself — symbolizing auspiciousness and good fortune.